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  • Writer's pictureHelen Dempsey-Henofer

Celebrating Authenticity when you struggle to fit in

In a world that often feels intent on fitting square pegs into round holes, embracing what sets you apart can feel not only daunting but downright rebellious. The fear of standing out, being misunderstood, or facing judgment from others can lead many to suppress their unique qualities and conform to societal norms. If you've spent time engaged in this social performance, you know. It can feel necessary. It's also exhausting! What if the very traits that make you feel like an outsider are actually your greatest strengths? Too far? Hang with me and let's consider this possibility.

1. Identify Your Unique Qualities

Start by acknowledging what sets you apart. Your distinctiveness might be in your creativity, your way of thinking, your values, or something entirely different. It's what makes you, you. Don't shy away from it; embrace it.

2. Understand That Different Doesn't Mean Wrong

Being different isn't a failure or a flaw; it's a manifestation of diversity and individuality. It's an opportunity to see the world from a unique perspective and contribute something only you can offer.

3. Find Your Community

You might feel like an outsider in some circles, but that doesn't mean you're alone. Seek out communities that celebrate diversity and individuality. Connecting with like-minded people can provide support and validation. Not sure where to start? Tools like Meetup and Discord can put you in touch with groups that share interests. They're made up of humans so some may be a good fit & others not. Groups of humans have cultures and those can be healthy or toxic. You can try communities out and, if it's not for you, try something else.

4. Use Your Uniqueness as a Strength

Your unique qualities can be a source of strength and creativity. They can fuel your passions, drive your success, and enable you to make meaningful contributions to the world. If this feels far away from where you are, you may be in the wrong place (see #3) What makes you you are your strengths. Your uniqueness traits deserve to be treated assets, not liabilities.

5. Celebrate Yourself

Finally, take time to celebrate who you are. Appreciate the things that set you apart and recognize them as the beautiful attributes they are. In doing so, you'll not only find peace with yourself but also inspire others to embrace their uniqueness.

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